Charlie Hebdo – the supermarket siege: Condolences

January 10, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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Following the deaths of four shoppers held hostage in a Kosher supermarket in the Parisian suburb of Vincennes, messages of condolence are reaching J-Wire.

Rescue workers enter after police forces storm a kosher grocery where a gunman held 5 hostages, in Paris, Friday Jan.9, 2015. The assault came moments after a similar raid on the building where two brothers suspected in the Charlie Hebdo newspaper massacre were cornered. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Rescue workers enter after police forces storm a kosher grocery where a gunman held 5 hostages, in Paris, Friday Jan.9, 2015. The assault came moments after a similar raid on the building where two brothers suspected in the Charlie Hebdo newspaper massacre were cornered. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Authorities believe the hostage crisis at the supermarket was directly linked to the Kouachi brothers who were killed following a siege in the town of Dammartin-en-Goule. They were responsible for the deaths of 12 people when they raided the office of the satirist magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Several hostages escaped the supermarket in which shoppers were making purchases for Shabbat.

Police killed Amedi Coulibaly who had allegedly killed a policewoman but his accomplice Hayat Boumeddiene is reportedly still at large.

Following the deadly terrorist attack in France  at the Jewish store in Paris, World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder on Friday urged French citizens “to come out in their millions” and to stand up against terrorism and anti-Semitism. Four people died when a terrorist linked to the Charlie Hebdo killers on Friday took over a dozen hostages in a kosher supermarket in Paris. “France has the world’s third largest Jewish community, and yet Jewish life in France will not have a future if the lethal threat posed by Islamic terrorists is not tackled effectively and quickly,” Lauder declared.
“Only two days after the Charlie Hebdo killings, another horrible massacre has been committed by brutal killers. Like in Toulouse in 2012 and in Brussels in 2014, a Jewish site was deliberately chosen to instill fear and to murder innocent people. Had it not been for the courageous and professional action taken by French police, a massacre on a much bigger scale would probably have happened,” Lauder declared following Friday’s simultaneous raids carried out against the two presumed gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo attacks north of Paris and their two associates who took hostages in a Jewish store in Paris.

Lauder also praised the European government leaders for spontaneously traveling to Paris on Sunday to take part in a solidarity march, but urged a strong response from civil society.

“We hope that this barbaric attack will trigger the same outcry among citizens in France and the rest of the Western world as did Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo. Just as two days ago many people posted ‘Je suis Charlie’ on their social media pages, let’s hope people will now post ‘Je suis Juif de France’, or something similar,” said the WJC president.

“Three years after the massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse, and eight months after the deadly attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, we are faced with an Islamist terror campaign in Western Europe. We must not be intimidated by this campaign. If we stand united in defense of freedom and against hatred and intolerance, we will win,” Lauder declared.

Lauder announced that he and WJC CEO Robert Singer would travel to Paris after Shabbat to discuss the worsening situation with the local Jewish community and the French government.

Around 600,000 Jews live in France, making it Europe’s largest Jewish community, and the third-largest in the world. In recent months, a number of Jews left the country in the wake of rising anti-Semitism.

Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the B’nai B’rith anti Defamation Commission joins Maurice Tobias president of B’nai B’rith Australia and New Zealand in saying: ““We extend our condolences to the families of the victims who were massacred today at Kosher Market in Paris. The heinous slaughter of the four hostages is a timely reminder that the menace of radical Islamist terrorism affects all people around the world, whether they are in Israel, Australia or France. We have  repeatedly warned that the alarming rise in anti-Semitism and the spread of this hateful and violent ideology over the last several years, including the murders in Toulouse and the Jewish Museum of Belgium, as well as attacks against Jewish institutions, is a threat to all people and all democracies. Today’s reprehensible crime is not just an attack on Jews, but an  assault on free societies everywhere. We applaud the French authorities for acting swiftly and decisively, avoiding further innocent bloodshed when neutralising the perpetrator. All governments must now take effective measures to comprehensively combat this escalating threat in defending their citizens from similar  tragedies.”

Stephen Goodman is the president of The New Zealand Jewish Council and joins chairman Geoff Levy in stating that the Council unequivocally condemns this week’s Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris and extends its utmost sympathy and condolences to the families of those who were murdered and injured.

“Not only does this vile and cowardly terrorist attack represent an attempt at stifling freedom of speech but it is also yet another painful example of the murderous results of unchecked anti-Semitism,” said Geoff Levy, Chairman, New Zealand Jewish Council.

The New Zealand Jewish Council joins the citizens of France, including its 500,000 Jewish citizens, and requests that all measures be taken to ensure that life in France be made safe from Islamic fundamentalist terror.

“These shocking events present us with yet another timely reminder of the urgent requirement for the global community to stand up against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, as it presents an existential threat to the western world and the values that we hold so dearly,” he added.

The “atrocious anti-Semitic act” (to quote French President Francois Hollande) at the kosher supermarket has resulted in multiple Jewish deaths at the hands of Islamic terrorists.

Friday night services at the Grande Synagogue de Paris have been cancelled due to the heightened threat level against the Jewish community. The last time services were not held in this synagogue was during the Nazi occupation of Paris.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed the following message to the French through their ambassador in Israel before news broke of the Kosher supermarket:

“I wish to send from this place our deepest condolences to President François Hollande, the bereaved families and the people of France. We grieve with our French brothers and sisters. We reaffirm our commitment to work together to defeat the enemies of the democratic values we all cherish.

I know that you’re going from here to France, and I want you to take with you the sentiment of every citizen of Israel. We have experienced such attacks, we know the feeling, and we share your grief, but also your resolve, which has been demonstrated in the last few days by so many of France’s citizens who gathered to gather and say, we have to fight these enemies of our common civilization.

These terrorists gun down journalists in Paris; they behead aid workers in Syria; they kidnap schoolgirls in Nigeria; they bomb churches in Iraq; they slaughter tourists in Bali; they rocket civilians from Gaza; and they strive to build nuclear weapons in Iran.

They might have different names: ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, al-Shabab, al-Qaida, Hezbollah. But all of them are driven by the same hatred and blood-thirsty fanaticism. And all of them seek to destroy our freedoms and to impose on all of us a violent, medieval tyranny.

This is a global struggle.

Bringing to justice the Paris murderers is just the beginning

It must be followed by a broad-based assault on the forces of radical Islam throughout the world.

This is everybody’s battle.

The terrorists have shown that they have the will to crush us, but they don’t have the capacity. Now we must show that we have the will to defeat them and crush them.

This is the essence of the battle that we’re fighting: Freedom against barbarism. Freedom must win, but to win, we have to stand together and fight together.

This is our message to the people of France, and this is our message to all the citizens of civilized countries.

Well, please convey the message of the people of Israel to the people of France, and our solidarity against all those who wish to extinguish our freedoms.

The root of terrorism is terrorists. The root of terrorism is terrorists who wish to bring back humanity, all of mankind, to a darker age. They don’t particularly care about this or that issue. They don’t care about political settlements. They want to overrun our societies, our liberties, our way of life. They want to take us back 1,000 years.

This is what drives them. And in order to fight them, we have to understand that they challenge everyone: They challenge their fellow Muslims who don’t share their implacable creed, and then they challenge everyone else. Radical Islam is challenging the entire world – the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world alike, but it is radical Islam.

The second point I think you made just now, Ambassador, is a very important one, and that is that the first tactic of terrorists is top impose terror, to create fear. And the first rule in fighting terrorism is to refuse to be afraid. I know that there are many in France who are asking themselves, how can we fight this dreadful fear-imposing barbarism. Should we continue to publish our views? Should we express our opinions? Should we now cut back? And my message, in Paris, In Jerusalem, anywhere, is the first rule in fighting terrorism is to refuse to knuckle down and knuckle under fear and pain of fear, to refuse to be afraid.

And the third most important point is we have to unite to roll back this side of fear. And I think that you can go from here to Paris armed with the knowledge that the people of Israel believe strongly in what I’ve just said, embrace the people of France as brothers and sisters. We understand we are in a common battle for our values and a common battle for our future, and we refuse to be intimidated.

Following the supermarket siege, Netanyahu spoke with French President Hollande who informed him that four hostages had been killed and that 15 hostages had been rescued. He told the president: “The entire people of Israel are with you.” He added, “Our hearts are with the families of the victims. Israel offers any assistance that France needs.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu asked President Hollande to maintain heightened security at Jewish institutions even after the return to routine. The Prime Minister added that the international community must take united action against the terrorists from extremist Islam and against the terrorist infrastructures that support them, action that would strike at the sources of financing for terrorism and the network of incitement that encourages such acts.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also spoke with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and offered the State of Israel’s assistance in any sphere that the French authorities might require. Prime Minister Netanyahu also spoke with his French counterpart about security at Jewish institutions in France and noted that it was essential to strike at the sources of financing for extremist Islamic terrorist organizations and to take action against the incitement in Europe that encourages such actions.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also spoke with CRIF President Roger Cukierman and French National Assembly member Meyer Habib and asked them to convey to the French Jewish community that the Israeli people are with them in this difficult hour. The Prime Minister also asked them to adhere to security directives at Jewish institutions.

Shortly after being updated on the terrorist attack at the kosher market, Prime Minister Netanyahu held a conference call with – inter alia – Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Foreign Ministry Director General Nissim Ben-Shetrit, Mossad Director Tamir Pardo and National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen. The Prime Minister instructed that all possible assistance be granted to the French authorities and that security directives be underscored at Israeli missions and Jewish institutions.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry‘s president Robert Goot and its executive director Peter Wertheim said: “On behalf of the Australian Jewish community, we join with political and religious leaders and millions of ordinary, decent people all over the world in expressing our utter disgust and outrage at yesterday’s vile terrorist butchery of four innocent people who had been taken hostage in a kosher food shop in Paris.

Although some sections of the media have downplayed the antisemitism that motivated the terrorist responsible for this atrocity to select people in a kosher shop as his target, there can be no mistaking the fact that the murder victims were killed because they were Jewish. Their only ‘crime’ was doing their weekly shopping in preparation for, and observance of, the Jewish Sabbath. It is they who are martyrs, not their murderer.

European history has demonstrated all too clearly, and all too often, that when Jews are murdered because they are Jews, western values and western civilization itself are in peril. No-one is safe. Yesterday’s terrorist attack on an identifiably Jewish target as a follow-up to Wednesday’s barbaric murders of media workers at the Charlie Hebdo office and two police officers provides further proof, if proof is needed, that the fight against antisemitism and the fight for freedom and civilization are one and the same fight.

For many years, leaders of the French Jewish community have documented the ways in which antisemitism has increasingly been tolerated by French society and have warned of the consequences. They have urged the French authorities to act in the wake of the massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse in March 2012 and the brutal, racially-motivated rape of a young Jewish woman in Paris last month. They have reminded the world that while Jews may be the first targets of heinous crimes committed in the name of militant Islam, they are never the last.

We are appalled by the torrent of vile, anti-Jewish conspiracy theories advanced in the hours after the Charlie Hebdo attack. We note in particular, a tweet from the official Wikileaks account, which declared that the “Jewish pro-censorship lobby legitimised” the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and posts from prominent pro-Palestinian activist, Greta Berlin, accusing Israel of carrying out the attack. Such statements are beneath contempt, especially in light of yesterday’s related lethal attack against a kosher shop.

Our prayers and our thoughts are with the victims of these savage crimes. We wish long life to the families of the murdered. We pray that those who have suffered recover fully in body and in soul from the trauma that has been senselessly inflicted upon them.

At this most difficult of times, we urge all people of peace and goodwill to reflect on the tragic events that have occurred, to reject the hatred and intolerance that underpin the ideology of radical Islam, to condemn unreservedly those who seek to excuse or downplay it on any grounds, and to stand united and resilient in the face of this common enemy of humanity. We pray that the lives of the murdered will not be lost in vain.

Jeremy Spinak, president of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies said: “At this difficult time we stand with the people of France and in particular with its Jewish community.

The appalling antisemitic attack at the kosher supermarket demonstrates yet again the many dangers that Jewish communities across Europe and the world face from Islamic extremism.

We also note that the cowardly attack on the  Charlie Hebdo office only strengthens the international community’s resolve to protect and uphold crucial liberal democratic values, and our thoughts are with the families of the journalists and police officers who fell in the line of duty.

I have written to the French Consul-General to convey the support and condolences of the Jewish community of New South Wales.”

Mark Leibler is the president and Dr Colin Rubenstein is the executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. They told J-Wire: “We are appalled by the barbaric and heinous attacks on the offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris. These attacks were not just evil massacres of innocent civilians going about their day’s activities.  The Charlie Hebdo attack was a vicious assault on the freedom of the press, one of the fundamental tenets of Western democracy. The supermarket attack was a vile racist assault on France’s entire Jewish community, with the victims murdered simply because they were Jews.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of those so brutally murdered and our wishes for a speedy recovery for all those wounded, and hope that all who assisted the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice. This attack once again reinforces the dangers posed to the entire international community by the dark forces of Islamist extremism in all its guises, and the need to act with resolve to counter them wherever they lurk.”

Comments

2 Responses to “Charlie Hebdo – the supermarket siege: Condolences”
  1. David Adler says:

    This was not only another evil Islamic jihad terror event, it was also specifically anti-Semitic.

    Anti-Semitism is of course a core value of Islam. It is in the 5 x daily Muslim prayers, in the Quran and in the Hadiths. Just a couple of examples from 100s:

    From the Quran – Surah 98.6 “The infidels (non-Muslims) among the People of the Book… shall burn forever in the hell fires. They are the vilest of creatures.”

    From the Hadiths – ‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’

  2. Erica Edelman says:

    “These terrorists gun down journalists in Paris; they behead aid workers in Syria; they kidnap schoolgirls in Nigeria; they bomb churches in Iraq; they slaughter tourists in Bali; they rocket civilians from Gaza; and they strive to build nuclear weapons in Iran.

    They might have different names: ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, al-Shabab, al-Qaida, Hezbollah. But all of them are driven by the same hatred and blood-thirsty fanaticism. And all of them seek to destroy our freedoms and to impose on all of us a violent, medieval tyranny”

    Amen. And more. The United States with all its intelligence agencies should seek these blood-thirsty animals out and finish with them. They are not hard to find. They are recognizable because they want to be recognized. They must be eliminated. There is no choice in the matter anymore. These terrorists are not suitable to inhabit our globe. Their ideology deems them unfit, unwelcome and not in the best interests of the intelligent, creative and wondrous race we are. We need to take action now. They are soiling our freedoms – literally.

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